In early October my girl Marie (a photog I met and grew close with through Facebook about 5 years ago) and I met up “half way” (not really. Due to Covid we had to alter our original plans so we could spend time together while also being in a none-quarantining state when we got home) so yah, we decided to meet up in Lancaster PA. It was a place I’ve been wanting to visit for years, like no joke, easily 8-9 years and I’m so glad we did. It was so beautiful, peaceful, fun, educational without being in your face, and so much more. Our kids had met one other time, about 2 springs ago on a trip to South Carolina and hit it off . So we knew this would just continue to build and grow their friendship.
So how does this “roadschooling thing” work you might ask... it doesn’t need to look like mine - where we camp and stay in a tent, camper or van... it can mean so many things for different people... yes, for some it can be full time travel as a family (my life dream) but for many it is just a weekly day trip or even an weekend trip or a vacation of sorts where you through in some educational experiences. I will be honest, up until 2 years ago when we took a vacation, it was all about sitting at the pool maybe a theme park is involved, going for dinner, etc... I never really thought more on it. 1st off, my kids were still on the young side so I was in the thick of it with tantrums, naps, strollers, 8000 snacks, maybe some diapers, etc...I also relied on heavily on the idea that ”my kids will learn what they need to learn through school” mentality. Boy, was I naive. I actually DID feel that my younger daughter learned MORE about the world and things of importance when she was in her preschool and in a way that she still remembers then my older one ever learned in hers or in her public school years (which were not that many...). I remember a lightbulb really went off for me when one of the girls grandmas took us to this AMAZING animal sanctuary in Florida. Their attention was held the ENTIRE 2+ hours we were there. I realized, well shit, they are old enough to start appreciating these things! From there- I just made it happen. Now, most times when we travel or “adventure” as we like to say, I plan out at least 1 day of activities that are learning based. Be it a museum, a junior ranger club activity, a walking tour, a live show, an activity of some other fashion, or staying somewhere that we are immersed in a culture we know nothing about.... like we did in Lancaster.
‘Lancaster is the largest Amish community in the country — there are a few other pockets throughout the US, but this one is the largest. It was SO amazing to see how this community of people are both deeply rooted in their faith and community but at the same time, have assimilated and benefitted from the “English” neighbors it lives in harmony with. It’s obviously hard to know if 25+ years ago things were as symbiotic between these 2 cultures or if over time things have become more intertwined... but regardless spending a day doing their bus tour (with double masks on and only 1 other family on the bus!) and walking through Amish owned stores, farms, and more really allowed our kids to learn throughly about something they otherwise might never have at all in school. Through this trip, I would say that all 4 kids learned not just on Amish day... but just by being with other people that do things different then they do. Marie’s son LOVES to chop wood and build fire pits — my girls, learned how to use a hatchet and help kindle a fire. They also continued to learn about how everyone is different and people all have different things to overcome. Her son for example as adhd (something she is open about and really educated others through her experience - so I feel ok sharing too) it was so special to see how my girls accepted, embraced, and understood that he needed some moments.. he had to take medicine, or his medicine wore off, that his brain has a hard time slowing down, etc... they continue to show me that they are excepting to all walks of life, regardless of the color of your skin, sexuality, religion, or disability you may be living with...
after spending a day relaxing and learning through play we took a trip to philly - where we had a walking tour planned out and a junior ranger badge to earn! I’m not sure the tour guide loved me for having them do this on the Tour haha - but since it was a private tour we made it happen. It was amazing for me to see how the things we’ve been doing and learning at home just through conversation, audio books, and a few YouTube videos helped to continue to connect the dots when we visited Philly. The tour guide showed us many historical buildings where the founding documents were created, or discussed... these are all things we’ve talked about at length at home. How did this all happen at home... to be honest, by watching the musical, Hamilton during lockdown! We started to watch it..had NO FREAKIN CLUE what was going on... and to be honest, while I loved the music - I didn’t understand what was happening when they sang about it. So I did what I normally do, I googled. I then paused the show when something new would begin and read aloud what was happening so we all understood the context. From there, their interest just took off. From conversations about the banking system, to constitution, to inequality to slavery, to our current election, and political parties, and early presidents, Boston tea party, taxation, to the civil war, to BLM to women’s rights movement... it just kinda went crazy and might seem jumbled but it isn’t, everything is intertwined really... so yah. Philly hit home for us, it was a place we connected more dots all the way down to the cobblestone streets... it was amazing. So yah, in short - is roadschooling something everyone can do...? 100% do you need to put in a little effort, for me, yes. I want to make sure we get something out of the time spent. Does every moment look this way, absolutely not! Some days are just meant for sitting at the pool or at a theme park... but others, they are meant for seeing more and digging in deeper.
Hi, I'm Stacey
A newly minted homeschooling mom to two little girls, two crazy pups, professional photog. by trade and a big dream to share the world and all it has to offer with my girls by traveling and experiencing it all together. Follow our journey and learn from our mistakes and triumphs along the way.